1- Do you know who phoned me yesterday? My ex-boyfriend/husband/fiance.
2- Oh, come on! I don't care about presents at all. You're my real present!
3- Your salary is fine. I would live with you no matter what.
4- You're the first one ever to touch my hand!!
5- Please don't say so about yourself. You are 170 kg and you still look great. I love you the way you are.
6- Your mom is just like my mom to me.
7- You were great tonight.
8- I was with my mom at the doctor's.
9- A rich engineer working in the Gulf is coming to propose on Thursday.
10- You know? Last year I was only 50 kg.
Friday, 21 September 2007
Sunday, 16 September 2007
A new group. First meeting. You walk into a café in Zamalik and before you know you are inside the quickest scanner you’ve ever seen.
1- Are you good looking and sexy? If not very …
2- Your clothes can compensate. How big is Adidas printed on your T-shirt/shoes/bag? Not any…
3- Hmm, you’d better make a noise with your key chain or complain about how hard it is to find parking around Zamalik. No car… ? Avoid transportation topic because you might have to say you took the subway or even worse a micro bus.
5- In case key chain is unavailable, then it’s time for your cell phone to do something about it. If it cost you less than $ 500, better keep it in your pocket.
6- Your next option is your language(s). Use English to show off, especially a good accent. French is to make it clear that your family is well-educated and rich. You don’t speak any!
7- Arabic is okay if you negate with ‘mish’ instead of ‘ma + -sh’ .
E.g.: “mish bashrab shisha” instead of “mabashrabsh shisha” (I don’t smoke shisha)
Caution: If you are a guy, don’t overdo it, unless you mean it!!
8- DO NOT walk in with a book in your hand, or talk about politics, religion, or literature. You’ll be seen as complicated poor bookworm (not mistaken here for ‘sophisticated’). Degrees are OK as long as they are either international or from the American University (AUC)
9- None of the above. Don’t give up, especially if you like one in the group. Where you live is one of the most effective strategies. I should have mentioned it earlier, actually. Don't throw it into the chat unless you live by the Nile, in Mohandessin, Zamalik, Garden City, Heliopolis, Dokki/Agouza (a good part) , Maadi (preferably old Maadi or Degla), certain new areas in the outskirts of Cairo, Nasr City (esp. if by a big mall). Any place not mentioned here… Sorry … your sitting with the wrong people and soon you’ll be kicked out.
10- Wait. There’s hope? Any of your parents not Egyptian? Good for you! Say a word in their dialect, people ask you, your fine!
If any of these don't happen, you are sitting with foreigners. Last week I found out that a non-Egyptian friend, who I had known for two months, had a PhD in nuclear physics. He was not the one who told me and doesn’t even know that I have this piece of info about him. My non-Egyptian best friend had become my best friend before I knew he could fly airplanes, speak 4 languages (maybe more!!), and visited at least 15 countries. I would have known all this Day 1 if he were an Egyptian!!
Saturday, 1 September 2007
After two weeks of trying to arrange for this meeting, he could finally come and talk to me. I had just arrived home after a long day at work but couldn't have rejected the chance. He is considered 'by my brother' to be a knowledgeable open-minded scholar (sheikh) who would be able to answer all my questions!
He sat on the balcony with my brother, shutters closed. I sat on a chair behind the shutters where we could hear but not see each other.
He talked to me in a warm confident voice that patiently welcomed my questions.
Chose to you this part of the meeting:
1- My first question Sheikh is very simple: If a man and a woman commit fornication, the ruling in Shari'a is the same for both.
-That's right. (he recites verse 24:2 which means that both the sinning man and woman receive the same punishment.)
Are they equally forgiven insha'allah if they repent?
- Of course. (and he recites the beautiful verse 39:53)
Does the man have to tell his future wife about his past relationships?
- NO. Why would he reveal a sin that Allah has covered for him? Doesn't make sense?
Does the woman have to tell her future husband about her past relationship?
- (pauses) YES.
Haven't they both repented? What is the difference?
- She has to tell him. If she hides this surgically it'll be considered deceit.
But 'why would he reveal a sin that Allah has covered for him? Doesn't make sense?'
- She has to pay for what she did and know that she also might have to give up some of her dowry or so.
Sheikh, you know how big a nightmare this can be for a woman in a Middle Eastern society? and religion actually asks her to forget and says that it's not the right of the future husband to know anything the woman doesn't want to reveal?
- (getting a bit frustrated) She has to submit to the fact that she is physically and anatomically different from a man and this is her fate.
Frustrated myself, I decided to move on to the next question.
2- My second question Sheikh is regarding the death penalty for people like Salman Rushdie. Why is his life sought for writing a piece of fiction?
(Sheikh's words are his and not Islam's.)